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NHS should be ‘at the forefront’ of general election debate, RCGP says

RCGP echoes calls from the BMA for NHS not to be ‘pushed to the margins in the focus on Brexit’

Ingrid Torjesen

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

The RCGP has joined the BMA in urging political parties not to sideline the NHS in the focus on Brexit in debate leading up to the general election expected to take place on 8 June.

Prime minister Theresa May announced yesterday that she intends to hold a general election on 8 June, citing the need to challenge opposition she has encountered over Brexit from Labour, the SNP and the Liberal Democrats.

Ms May plans to put a motion to the House of Commons today, which will require a two-thirds majority vote, but this is likely to be passed as Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has welcomed her decision to hold a snap election.

“I welcome the prime minister’s decision to give the British people the chance to vote for a government that will put the interests of the majority first,” he said.

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: "It is vital that patient care is kept at the forefront of debate over the coming weeks. Once the new government is formed, we will continue to press for the urgent delivery of all the pledges made in NHS England's GP Forward View - and for equivalent investment in GP services in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

"The GP Forward View has support from across the political spectrum and promises an extra £2.4 billion extra a year for general practice in England, plus 5,000 more GPs and 5,000 more members of the practice team by 2020.

"If delivered in full, it could be the lifeline that general practice in England needs to ensure we can continue to deliver quality care to our patients for years to come.

She added: "Strong general practice means a stronger NHS, and regardless of the result in June, it is crucial that any future government delivers the investment and support that our family doctor service and our patients right across the UK so desperately need."

Shortly after the announcement yesterday, BMA council chair Dr Mark Porter called on politicians of all parties to make the NHS a vital part of debate in their campaigning. “Health is always one of the most important issues for the people of this country and with the NHS at breaking point, having been put through one of the worst winters on record, it must be a central issue in the upcoming election. The NHS must not be pushed to the margins in the focus on Brexit,” he said.

Picture: Theresa May. Credit: Twocoms / Shutterstock.com

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